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Self Development

8 Steps To Having Wildly Productive Mornings

Getting the most out of your morning before your brain wakes up.

James Clear



Productive-Mornings-Personal Improvement-Self Development

You’ll wake up for about 25 000 mornings in your adult life, give or take a few. According to a report from the World Health Organization, the average life expectancy in the United States is 79 years old.

Most people in wealthy nations are hovering around the 80–year mark. Women in Japan are the highest, with an average life expectancy of 86 years.

If we use these average life expectancy numbers and assume that your adult life starts at 18 years old, then you’ve got about 68 years as an adult. (86 – 18 = 68) Perhaps a little less on average. A little more if you’re lucky.

(68 years as an adult) x (365 days each year) = 24 820 days.

Once I realised this, I started thinking about how I could develop a better morning routine. I still have a lot to learn, but here are some strategies that you can use to get the most out of your 25 000 mornings.

Here are eight strategies that I’ve found to be most effective for getting the most out of my morning:

1. Manage your energy, not your time

If you take a moment to think about it, you’ll probably realise that you are better at doing certain tasks at certain times. For example, my creative energy is highest in the morning, so that’s when I do my writing each day.

By comparison, I block out my afternoons for interviews, phone calls, and emails.

I don’t need my creative energy to be high for those tasks, so that’s the best time for me to get them done. And I tend to have my best workouts in the late afternoon or early evening, so that’s when I head to the gym.

What type of energy do you have in the morning? What task is that energy best suited for?

2. Prepare the night before

I don’t do this nearly as often as I should, but if you only do one thing each day then spend a few minutes each night organising your to–do list for tomorrow.

When I do it right, I’ll outline the article I’m going to write the next day and develop a short list of the most important items for me to accomplish. It takes 10 minutes that night and saves 3 hours the next day.

3. Don’t open email until noon

Sounds simple. Nobody does it. It took me awhile to get over the urge to open my inbox, but eventually I realised that everything can wait a few hours.

Nobody is going to email you about a true emergency (a death in the family, etc.), so leave your email alone for the first few hours of each day. Use the morning to do what’s important rather than responding to what is “urgent.”

4. Turn your phone off and leave it in another room

Or on your colleague’s desk. Or at the very least, put it somewhere that is out of sight. This eliminates the urge to check text messages, Facebook, Twitter, and so on. This simple strategy eliminates the likelihood of slipping into half–work where you waste time dividing your attention among meaningless tasks.

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The Power of Mornings. Why Successful Entrepreneurs are Early Risers


5. Work in a cool place 

Have you ever noticed how you feel groggy and sluggish in a hot room? Turning the temperature down or moving to a cooler place is an easy way to focus your mind and body. (Hat tip to Michael Hyatt for this one.)

6. Sit up or stand up 

Your mind needs oxygen to work properly. Your lungs need to be able to expand and contract to fill your body with oxygen. That sounds simple enough, but here’s the problem: most people sit hunched over while staring at a screen and typing.

When you sit hunched over, your chest is in a collapsed position and your diaphragm is pressing against the bottom of your lungs, which hinders your ability to breathe easily and deeply.

Sit up straight or stand up and you’ll find that you can breathe easier and more fully. As a result, your brain will get more oxygen and you’ll be able to concentrate better.

(Small tip: When sitting, I usually place a pillow in the small of my back. This prevents my lower back from rounding, which keeps me more upright.)

7. Eat as a reward for working hard 

I practice intermittent fasting, which means that I eat my first meal around noon each day. I’ve been doing this for almost two years. There are plenty of health benefits.

But health is just one piece of the puzzle. I also fast because it allows me to get more out of my day. Take a moment to think about how much time people spend each day thinking, planning, and consuming food.

By adopting intermittent fasting, I don’t waste an hour each morning figuring out what to eat for breakfast, cooking it, and cleaning up. Instead, I use my morning to work on things that are important to me. Then, I eat good food and big meals as a reward for working hard.

8. Develop a “pre–game routine” to start your day

My morning routine starts by pouring a cold glass of water. Some people kick off their day with ten minutes of meditation. Similarly, you should have a sequence that starts your morning ritual.

This tiny routine signals to your brain that it’s time to get into work mode or exercise mode or whatever mode you need to be in to accomplish your task.

Additionally, a pre–game routine helps you overcome a lack of motivation and get things done even when you don’t feel like it.

The Power of a Morning Routine

Just as it’s rare for anyone to experience overnight success, it’s also rare for our lives crumble to pieces in an instant. Most unproductive or unhealthy behaviours are the result of slow, gradual choices that add up to bad habits. A wasted morning here. An unproductive morning there.

The good news is that exceptional results are also the result of consistent daily choices. Nowhere is this more true than with your morning routine. The way you start your day is often the way that you finish it.

Take, for example, Jack LaLanne. He woke up each day at 4am and spent the first 90 minutes lifting weights. Then, he went for a swim or a run for the next 30 minutes. For more than 60 years, he spent each morning doing this routine. In addition to being one of the most influential people in fitness in the last 100 years, LaLanne also lived to the ripe old age of 96.

This is no coincidence. What you do each morning is an indicator of how you approach your entire day. It’s the choices that we repeatedly make that determine the life we live, the health we enjoy, and the work we create.

You’ve got 25 000 mornings. What will you do with each one?

Do you have a morning routine or just getting out of bed an achievement? let us know in the comment section below…

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. andywassung

    Jan 16, 2014 at 12:55

    Thanks a lot for the tips…it’s applying them that is now the tough part. I don’t live rigidly by a diary routine, so I will just have to try and make routine and remember to plan for the next day, etc. I generally play squash and go for a swim in the morning which gets me buzzing. Your email idea is great because we shouldnt have emails open all the time. I often open them in the morning to find myself 3 hours later procrastinating over an email or distracted by them. A good read, thanks again

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Self Development

21 Inspiring Quotes About Success, Persistence And What It Means To Be An Entrepreneur

Leaders of companies big and small share the mindset it takes to achieve your dreams in the face of all obstacles.




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True, being an entrepreneur can be exhausting, lonely, frustrating and terrifying. But it’s worth every drop of blood, sweat and tears when you are pursuing your passion, turning your dream into a reality.

In an ongoing series called Real Entrepreneurs, we pick the brains of founders and leaders about what it is like to have every decision big and small rest on their shoulders and have compiled their thoughts on what it takes to succeed on the long, sometimes crazy journey of an entrepreneur.

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Self Development

The Mindset Strategy From The “Rock Star” Coach Can Turn Your Beliefs Into Results

William Badenhorst, a Director of Global Strengths shares his mindset secret to ongoing entrepreneurial success.

Dirk Coetsee




William Badenhorst, a Director of Global Strengths, is a coach to the coaches. His “Rock Star” attitude along with the deep driving desire to help others find their true selves formed the fabric of a highly interesting and entertaining interview.

The rolling thunder of his voice brought forth quote after quote, quip after quip and wisdom after wisdom. As a “peak performance coach” to professional athletes, celebrities,  entrepreneurs and corporate career orientated individuals, William believes that knowing who you truly are as an individual is the catalyst for lasting growth and useful change in business and in life in general.

His intense eyes and energetic hand gestures emphasized one of his core beliefs and that is that we all are nothing but our very own beliefs.

“Everyone is focused on Results”

Everyone is always focusing on the outcome – the results they want. But what creates results? Let’s do some reverse engineering. In order to achieve RESULTS we need to take ACTION. And in order to take ACTION we need to make a DECISION. To make a DECISION, we need to think about it – THOUGHTS.

The interesting thing about humans is that we do not create our thoughts, we can only control them. So what does create your thoughts? Your BELIEFS creates your THOUGHTS. So ultimately your BELIEFS creates your RESULTS.

“You don’t attract what you want, you attract what you are.”


It is our very own limiting beliefs, such as for example that “I am not good enough” and “I am not deserving” and “I’m not worthy ” that creates barriers to our own success in entrepreneurial ventures and in our lives. In order to reach our limitless potential we must find and remove the self-created barriers that hold us back.

Although he loves the interaction and benefits of social media he is quick to point out that it also has created a fantasy of who and what we should be. He advises to not to adopt such fantasy as your desired reality but to instead be who you really are as an individual and goes on to quote the famous Greek philosopher Socrates:

“Know thyself, Be thyself and Love thyself”

You always end up falling back on your beliefs -whether they are empowering or disempowering. The challenge with that is that a large number of your beliefs are unconscious especially when you have not put in the work to find out what your belief system truly is.

Related: Osteostrong: An Exploding Global Movement Of Positive Change

Through his vast experience as a coach he realized that a large number of people veer away from self-awareness as they are afraid of being judged for whom they truly are.

Have Faith

The conversation naturally evolved into the exploration of the true meaning of the concept of faith and William’s mind grasped at a Quote from the apostle Paul:

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”

He went on to explain that faith is evidence of true-self which creates certainty which in turn is equal to confidence. Confidence brings a certain state where everything flows. He calls it “Peak State”. He further advises to search for evidence of who you really are and gain belief in yourself.

Advice to young entrepreneurs

William’s thoughts on self-development for entrepreneurs are to get a Coach. If you are already in business and don’t have a Coach – get one!  Begin with taking extreme ownership and responsibility of everything in your life. And when you do that you win.

Stop blaming everything and everyone around you. Stop complaining about circumstances. You are in control and it is up to you to make it happen.  There are no un-resourceful people, there are only un-resourceful states. Go where you are celebrated not tolerated and love yourself unconditionally. Remove the very unrealistic expectations of what and who you should be and authentically be yourself. Believe in yourself and go all in on YOU!

Related: How To Conquer Your Fear Of Becoming an Entrepreneur By Being Disciplined

Become the best form of yourself because as an entrepreneur you are the business. Play to your strengths and manage your weaknesses. You do not need a title to lead, have massive self-belief and others will follow.

Have an attitude of constant learning:

“If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room”

And then yet another quote rolled off his tongue that put me in a self-reflective mood:

“A person that shines from within does not need a spotlight”

William Badenhorst, the father, the coach, the entrepreneur and key note speaker left the author and the reader with a question of mesmerising depth:

“What if you woke up this morning with only the things that you were grateful for last night?”

Gratitude is everything!

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Self Development

How You Can Move From Your Potential To Your Purpose

“Value isn’t in opinion, it’s in perspective” – Wes Boshoff

Wes Boshoff




Let’s face it, we all know that when wanting to achieve something different, you need to do something different. The challenge isn’t in wanting the different, it’s in doing the different!

Mark Twain said, “The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why”.

I love that because it highlights the importance of knowing that you have a purpose, and that you need to find it or design it, then live it, love it and look after it.

You have heard it said or said it yourself…”that person has huge potential, if only they would…”. It’s great to have potential but potential doesn’t equate to purpose. They are like elastics, just sitting there on the desk, and it’s not much good to anyone just sitting there. You see there is a gap between potential and purpose and that gap is called ‘The Stretch’.

Related: Founder of Five-Star Wes Boshoff Weighs In On Becoming An Entrepreneur

For that elastic to move from potential to purpose it needs to be stretched, and only once its stretched and put round a bunch of pens does that elastic really move into its purpose. We are a lot like elastics, we need to be stretched to move from potential to purpose. The stretch isn’t always easy because we tend to get twisted out of shape when we need to do something different. However, the stretch is not designed to change who we are, just change how we are.

Here are a few ideas to help you in The Stretch.

Think about what you think about – it’s all in your perspective

Things are achieved or not achieved depending on how we think about them. Do you focus on the obstacles or the opportunities? It’s easy to see the obstacles, the key is to choose which one you going to focus on. Obstacles will always get in the way of opportunities if you let them. So, remain attentive to the possibilities that opportunity brings.

That means you need to position yourself in the way of opportunity, get in its way – make something happen, don’t just sit there! There’s a catch to this one though, opportunity never travels alone, it always comes with responsibility. Do you have the ability to respond to the opportunity? Are you taking responsibility, often we are given it, but we don’t really take it! You need to take and own the responsibility to maximise the opportunity!

Beware of distraction

‘Dis’ – a prefix meaning reversal, or the absence of action and traction refers to grip. When you get distracted you lose grip and that’s dangerous. Imagine driving, suddenly, you’ve lost traction, you are heading in the wrong direction, you may even end up going backwards.

Make sure you stick to what you need to do, create daily productive habits that will help you achieve in the long term. Grow your capacity and increase your footprint. Gain traction by repeating what works for you, that way your practice becomes repeatable and your brand becomes reputable. Don’t stop moving, its easier to change direction while you are still moving, than it is to start moving.

Related: What Building A Mini Car Taught Me About Leadership

Things don’t always work out

Employ the “What’s Wrong – What’s Next?” philosophy. When things go wrong with people, products or plans, we can get caught up in drama. There’s no time for drama, simply define what went wrong and decide what needs to be done next to fix it. Once fixed, then deal with the doer of the wrong, but deal with them in the right way too…you still don’t need drama!

“Value isn’t in opinion, it’s in perspective” – Wes Boshoff

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